HLAA Boston Chapter Newsletter – August 2022

Check out the latest news and updates from HLAA Boston Chapter!

Newsletter HLAABoston

We hope to see you soon as we launch meetings starting October 2nd immediately following the annual New England Walk4Hearing. You do not need to walk to attend the meeting but please check out Walk info at https://www.walk4hearing.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=locations

Happy rest of your summer!

-Liz Olson
volunteer leader for HLAA Boston Chapter

BIG News! OTC Hearing Aids coming this fall

HLAA Makes News as Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Move Closer to Store Shelves

On Tuesday, August 16, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the final rule for hearing aids sold directly to consumers, without a prescription. This will open the market to a new class of devices for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Executive Director Barbara Kelley is featured on many top media outlets as the news breaks. She talks about why HLAA supports this additional pathway to hearing health care.

While these devices aren’t for everyone, it’s an exciting step to help some treat hearing loss sooner.

HLAA Press Release (will open new page)

PATIO PICNIC PARTY II – Saturday June 18, 2022 from 12 – 3

PATIO PICNIC LUNCH PARTY!

DON’T MISS IT! BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

Boston Chapter HLAA – IN PERSON PICNIC – Saturday, June 18th from 12:00 – 3:00 pm
We are meeting outside and in person!!!

With special guest Alex Westner and his wife, Marilyn, creators of Xander caption glasses.

Join us for BBQ lunch, socializing, and learning from peers living with hearing loss.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled veggies,  and drinks will be provided

WHERE?

The patio is behind 175 Harvey St. at Cornerstone / Cambridge

RSVP

Please RSVP to hearatboston@gmail.com:
o How many people are coming?
o Vegetarian or other food preference (if any)
o If you want to/plan to bring dessert or appetizer

COVID

Are you up to date with COVID (vax/ booster)?  Although we will be meeting outside, it is strongly recommended that you do a rapid test prior to arrival.

DIRECTIONS

By car: Please note #175 isn’t on the street. For parking- ignore the “permit parking only” signs because the city has granted an exemption on Harvey and Jackson. Walk up the driveway and the common house is to your right. The patio is on the left side of the common house. From Route 2, the Cornerstone buildings are straight ahead at the end of Jackson.

By the MTA:  Take the red line to Alewife, the last stop. There are exits on both ends of the platform: take the Russell Field/North Cambridge exit. Walk straight so the exit door is behind you and turn left before the field house. Follow the path around two sides of the field to the exit. When you exit onto the street Cornerstone is across the street on your left. Walk down the row of townhouses and turn left on the driveway between #181 and #173. The common house is on your right. It’s about a five-minute walk.

By #77 bus: If heading north toward Arlington: Get off at Cameron Ave. Cross Mass Ave at the light. If heading south toward Harvard Square: Get off at Cedar. You are now at Harvey St. Walk down Harvey St. almost to the end.

You will see two townhouses on the right (#171 and #173). Just past the two townhouses, turn right into the driveway. Our building, #175, is the four-story one to the right.

Map:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/175+Harvey+St,+Cambridge,+MA+02140/@42.3977848,-71.1378756,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89e377048bbe3c29:0x900474e6d57324ce!8m2!3d42.3975022!4d-71.1354104?hl=en

Bluetooth: The Hopeful Future of Hearing Technology (Virtual) March 5th 4-6pm

DON’T MISS IT! The Boston Chapter HLAA will host a Virtual Meeting to explore how bluetooth is changing the game for hearing technology. Join us to learn more!

Bluetooth: The Hopeful Future of Hearing Technology

Learn about upcoming Bluetooth LE Audio, dealing with frustrations, and persevering around technology.
We may sing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” but we can try everything to see if we get what we need.

presented by Andrea Kaneb
hearing technology educator, advocate, and author
Gathering Sound

Saturday, March 5th
4-6pm
via Zoom

Zoom link to be sent to mailing list members closer to the date.
Newcomers are welcome – please email hearatboston@gmail.com

Join us to learn and socialize with peers living with hearing loss.

 

Know Your Rights to Access! Legal Advocacy Presentation (Virtual) Jan. 22nd 4-6pm

HLAA- Boston’s January 22nd presentation will feature Dr. LeWana Clark from the Disability Law Center whose mission is “To provide legal advocacy on disability issues that promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of Massachusetts.”
LeWana will tell us a little about the organization and what she does there.  She’d like to get questions and feedback, and ideas on how they can be of help.
And, if time allows, our own Carol Agate will talk about problems she has run into with advocacy, including early voting, jury discrimination, CART, and requests for ALDs at events.
Link to be sent to mailing list members closer to the date.  Newcomers – please email hearatboston@gmail.com

Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aids – Write to your Senator

News from HLAA National Office…

HLAA is thrilled to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act of 2021 (H.R. 5376) on November 19, 2021. The Build Back Better Act of 2021 includes the expansion of Medicare to cover hearing aids and services.

HLAA has spent years supporting the idea of Medicare coverage of hearing aids and hearing health services. This year, HLAA spent our time since the spring in talks with members of Congress and key committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate, encouraging them to vote YES! to expand Medicare to include hearing aids and services. That would mean for the first time, seniors who rely on Medicare to pay their medical bills would also be able to turn to Medicare to cover the cost of hearing aids and related services. We are happy to report that the U.S. House of Representatives listened!

Proposed Coverage

The provisions for hearing aid and hearing health care coverage include:

This legislation also contains certain limitations, such as covering hearing aids – one per ear – not more than once during a 5-year period, only for hearing aids that are not over-the-counter hearing aids, for people with moderately severe, severe, or profound hearing loss. These hearing aids can be furnished by a written order of a physician, an audiologist or a hearing aid specialist.

What Can You Do?

The Build Back Better Act does not become law until both Houses come to agreement on the final language. Write to your U.S. Senators to urge them to include Medicare coverage of hearing aids and hearing health care services with a bill that mirrors the one passed by the House.  There is still time to push this to the finish line! We can get this done!

Drawn from article on HLAA national website:

U.S. House of Representatives Expands Medicare to Cover Hearing Aids

 

 

Virtual Meeting With Special Guest Geoff Plant, Nov. 20, 2021

DON’T MISS IT!

Boston Chapter HLAA Virtual Meeting

Special guest Geoff Plant from Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation.

The major focus of the Hearing Rehabilitation Foundation (HRF) is to support people with hearing loss who have cochlear implants and hearing aids. Although these technologies have improved greatly over the past twenty years, many people with hearing loss still experience difficulties understanding speech.

HRF is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 1996 to provide and promote speech communication training for adults and children with hearing loss.
From the website hearingrehab.org

Saturday, November 20th from 4-6PM via Zoom

Link to be sent to mailing list members closer to the date.  Newcomers – please email hearatboston@gmail.com

Join us to learn about aural rehab, and socialize with peers living with hearing loss.

Open Captions in Theaters are Back! And Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Update

Theaters are opening for live audiences again! The first open captioned performances in our area start this weekend.  There is also good news to share on the OTC hearing aids.

Boston Opera House OC Performances

The following performances have been identified as OC:

  • Hadestown: 11/6/2021
  • Pretty Woman: 1/22/2022
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: 4/9/2022
  • Ain’t Too Proud: 4/23/2022
  • Wicked: 6/11/2022
  • Anastasia: 8/20/2022
  • Hamilton: 1/21/2023 and 3/4/2023

The times and links for tickets are on their website:

https://boston.broadway.com/theatre/citizens-bank-opera-house/#accessibility

  Trinity Rep OC Performances

The following performances have been identified as OC:

 

  • A Christmas Carol: 11/7, 12/1, 12/2, 12/3, 12/4, and 12/5/2021
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: 1/16, 2/9, 2/10, 2/11, 2/12, and 2/13/2022
  • Gem of the Ocean: 2/27, 3/23, 3/24, 3/25, 3/26, and 3/27/2022
  • Sueno: 4/10, 5/4, 5/5, 5/6, 5/7, and 5/8/2022
  • Fairview: 5/22, 6/15, 6/16, 6/17, 6/18, and 6/19/2022

Trinity Rep also has new assistive listening devices.  They offer the RF option where you borrow the new receiver with a headphone or neck loop.  They also offer a new option using the Listen Everywhere app on your own smartphone.  You can see more information about this and the times for the OC performances on their website:

https://www.trinityrep.com/box-office/accessibility/

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

The FDA released proposed rules for over-the-counter hearing aids that made national news.  The idea is that people with a mild-to-moderate loss can purchase a low-cost hearing aid that safely amplifies sound with simple tuning across the frequencies.  HLAA supports this effort to improve access to hearing aids and encourage technology innovation that will lower the cost of hearing aids.  There is more information on this ruling and background information on OTC hearing aids on the HLAA website:

https://www.hearingloss.org/fda-releases-proposed-rules-otc-hearing-aids/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=getresponse&utm_content=It+was+a+banner+news+week+for+people+with+hearing+loss%21&utm_campaign=Hearing+Loss+Association+of+America